ISTA present...

Creative in-house learning experience

November 19 - May 31, 2021

Please note that virtual festival experiences are available from 19th November 2020 – 31st May 2021.

Once you have booked with us you will be contacted by your event coordinator who will work with you to secure dates. Please see below for more information about how this new program will work.

Virtual festival promo video from ISTA on Vimeo.

Artistic information

Three months in the making, our virtual festivals maximise the opportunities afforded by online/socially distanced learning; remain true to our ISTA mission and values and provide the guaranteed ISTA magic much needed by all this year.

Even within one school community students tend to stick to small, fixed friendship groups and rarely, in the regular classroom setting, do deep bonds develop. Through the in-house festival experience young people can make new connections and nurture relationships that foster a deeper understanding of ‘other’ and stimulate empathy.

ISTA festivals use the expressive and communicative qualities of the arts to weave people bonds, creating a community web that leads to a celebration of creative endeavours.

In-house festivals will provide a life changing ‘disruption’ to the regular world of classroom online learning, support for teachers and young people will leave invigorated, excited, energised and having had a whole heap of fun.

Having surveyed a number of member teachers we realised our new festival offer could not be ‘one shoe fits all’. We also know that many schools cannot gather students for intensive periods of time, after school or at weekends. So our creative learning experience is designed for you – the ISTA festival experience spread over a period of weeks. How many weeks is entirely up to you.

This experience will provide a life changing ‘disruption’ to the regular world of classroom online learning, support for teachers and young people will leave invigorated, excited, energised and having had a whole heap of fun.

The experience
1. The creative learning experience comprises 12 x 90 minute sessions.
2. 7 of these are interactive online sessions with an ISTA artist.
3. 5 of these are slideshow/activities sessions. The slideshows are prepared by ISTA and sent to you ahead of time. You will work through the activities (1-1.5 hours worth of activities per slideshow) with your students in class time.
4. Once booked your event coordinator will help you map out your experience over a period of weeks or even a term/semester.
For more details on the schedule, please refer to the Sample schedule for a creative learning experience in the downloads section.

Global challenge
Our global challenge this year is Borders, boundaries and barriers and for our virtual festivals we will be asking schools to select one approach (frame) from the following list:
Community – how barriers, borders and boundaries have been moved, dissolved, created in our local and national communities.
Culture – what is meant by our own culture and how we embrace these, cross into other cultures and welcome others into our own culture.
Environmental – how the movement of barriers and borders have influenced the way we live and the impact this has had on our environment.
Issues – the freedom to move freely in your society, the nature of migration, why people cross borders and the impact of this displacement/isolation or separation on lifestyle and mental health.
Literary – the notion of a theatre being a place where writing allows words to be heard across borders and boundaries. Also, how we cross that divide between the real and the imaginary world.

Important information

Event dates
Schools may choose their own dates at any time between 19th November 2020 and 31st May 2021.

The creative learning experience can take place more intensively over a period of 2-3 weeks (class time, after school and weekend sessions) OR over a longer period of time (one session a week for a semester).

In-house creative learning experiences can be planned for 20 or 40 students.
We do not have the luxury of numbers ‘working out’ to a ratio of 1:20 as we do in larger festivals therefore we are urging schools to sign up with:
1. 20 students (minimum)
2. 40 students
3. If you’d like to plan a larger in house festival, please do get in touch. We have experience of producing these events with up to 200 students (a whole year group in a large school!).

Age range
Creative learning experiences can be planned for PS, MS or HS students.

ISTA has created the course outline (number and content of sessions) but when these sessions take place is for you to map out. The sessions must take place chronologically.

Which students?
Some of you may choose this festival option for just your theatre group. Alternatively you can broaden out the ‘audience’ by signing up multiple groups or planning this for a whole year group.

Event coordinator
Once you have made your booking, we will allocate you an event coordinator.

School circumstances and Covid-19
Festivals have been designed in order for them to work for all schools whether you are:
1. Still teaching online.
2. Operating on a blended model.
3. Back in school in a social distanced classroom.
4. Back in school as normal.


Unlike a customary festival we will not be charging individual student registration fees. Instead, there will be one fee for your group/experience.

To register up to 10 students per school the fee per school is GBP £1,300.

To register up to 20 students per school the fee per school is GBP £2,600.

Based on the 10/20 students this works out at GBP £130 per student (or approx GBP £7 per hour for tuition!).

If you have more than 40 students who wish to take part, please let us know and we’ll discuss options with you.

Upon receipt of your booking form you will be invoiced for the total amount and this will be due within 28 days.

Whether schools chose to cover this cost or whether you decide to divide the total cost by the number of students participating is up to you.


It may be possible for partner schools to meet up F2F for the interactive sessions. If this is the route taken then all travel will need to be organised by the respective schools.


We realise this is a new offer from ISTA and that you may well have questions before you consider booking. If this is the case please don’t hesitate to email one of the team and we’ll get back to you immediately and are happy to organise a Skype/Zoom.



Starts on Thursday 19 November at 09:00
Finishes on Monday 31 May at 17:00